Why Do I Weigh More After a Workout?

We all know the feeling: you finish an intense workout and step on the scale expecting to see a lower number than before. But instead, the number is higher! Why does this happen, and what can you do about it?


It is common for someone to weigh more after a hard workout than before starting the workout. Many people tend to become frustrated when they notice this sudden increase on the scale. However, despite this increase being common knowledge among both athletes and fitness enthusiasts, it often brings up questions: why do I weigh more after a workout?

Although the main reason behind it may be obvious, understanding why your body acts this way can be very helpful for those looking to reach their fitness goals in the most efficient way. This article will cover aspects such as temporary weight gain that is caused by dehydration and inflammation during a tough workout routine, as well as long-term weight gain that is due to muscle building and increased calorie consumption during exercise. Furthermore, it will provide useful insights into what you can do to adjust any weight fluctuations due to your exercise habits.

Reasons for Weight Gain

After an intense workout, it is common to experience some weight gain. This is because, during exercise, your body releases hormones and other chemicals that can encourage water retention. In addition, the breakdown of muscle tissue can also lead to increased weight. To better understand why your weight may go up after a workout, let’s look into the different factors at play.

Increased Muscle Mass

When your fitness regimen includes strength training and resistance activities, the added muscle mass can increase your overall body weight. Even if you don’t “look” any different, muscle is denser than fat, so you might see an increase in the number on the scale after a few weeks. This is because as you build muscle, you gain weight in the form of lean tissue – which is heavier than body fat. Even if your diet and exercise programs are perfectly balanced, weight gain due to increased muscle mass can lead to an overall increase in weight.

Glycogen Storage

Glycogen is the main energy source used by your body during physical activity. When you exercise, the level of glycogen in your body decreases and needs to be replenished after the workout is finished. Storing more glycogen than before a workout causes your body to weigh more post-workout.

The National Strength and Conditioning Association states that when dietary carbohydrate intake is adjusted to maintain preexercise muscle glycogen stores, water and calorie balance can be restored in 24 to 48 hours post-exercise, leading to a decrease in weight. This means that nearly 2 percent of the initial weight gained can be lost with proper nutritional strategies.

To maximize muscle glycogen storage and optimize recovery, consumption of carbohydrates within 30 minutes after a workout is recommended, as well as consumption of carbs throughout the day following a workout session. Eating whole grains, fruits and vegetables are all good sources for carbohydrates. Additionally, increasing daily carbohydrate intake overall may provide an additional boost for efficient glycogen storage. Eating healthy fats, proteins and carbohydrates throughout the day can also enhance your recovery period and promote optimal results from each exercise session.

Increased Water Retention

One of the most common reasons for weight gain after a workout is increased water retention. Your body retains water in order to regulate your temperature and reduce tension on joints and muscles, as the added weight can help absorb shocks while running or working out. It’s normal to gain a few pounds of water throughout the day – especially if you exercise regularly and still drink a lot of fluids.

Flavoring your drinks, eating salty snacks prior to or during workouts, or sweating heavily can also cause increased salt retention, which can lead to more pronounced water weight gains (especially in people with certain medical conditions). Additionally, certain types of carbohydrates may cause bloating and an increase in weight due to their chemical composition. To ensure proper hydration during your workout, it’s important to drink plenty of fluids and replenish electrolytes.

If you have been increasing your workouts lately and can’t seem to lose any additional weight on the scale after making diet changes, consider reducing sodium intake so that your body doesn’t retain as much water. Making other dietary changes such as reducing processed carbohydrates or increasing protein intake may also help reduce overall water retention.

Eating More

Eating too much after a workout is one of the most common causes of weight gain. If your total caloric intake is greater than the amount of calories you burned during exercise, you may see an increase in your weight. This is because your body needs fuel to replenish and rebuild muscle fibers after a strenuous workout session. Therefore, it’s important to focus on quality sources of food that provide nutritional value for your body rather than turning to high-calorie junk foods. Nutritionists suggest eating within 45 minutes after working out so as to maximize the restorative benefits and minimize weight gain.

It’s also important to keep in mind that macronutrient intake needs vary based on height, weight, activity level, and other factors. An inadequate supply of dietary protein following a workout can contribute to an imbalance in energy intake and storage which can result in unwanted fat gain rather than muscle building gains from all that hard work done in the gym. Taking this into consideration, it’s suggested that adults consume between 0.55 grams up to 0.82 grams of protein per pound depending on their age and activity level, when eating to improve performance outcomes or for body-building purposes.
Furthermore, paying close attention to portion sizes can really make a difference when it comes to managing healthy post-workout eating habits that prevent excessive calorie intake while providing enough macronutrients essential for muscle recovery and growth as well as overall energy enhancement. A portion size should be determined by individual goals while ensuring these meals are satiating without being too filling due to higher calorie intakes through higher fat sources like avocadoes or nut butter etc… Keeping hydrated by drinking enough water throughout the day also plays an instrumental role when controlling hunger cues post-gym routine – otherwise known as delayed onset muscle soreness – which can often be wrongly confused with hunger pangs leading people into believing they need more nourishment than necessary or even worse opting for junk calories instead of nutrient dense sources like fruits and vegetables!

Benefits of Weight Gain

After a workout you may experience weight gain due to a number of factors such as increased muscle mass, water retention, and glycogen storage. This weight gain can be beneficial for your overall health and fitness. In this article we will discuss the benefits of weight gain from exercise and how it can improve your lifestyle.

Increased Strength

Weight lifting, strength training and other physical activities that cause you to gain weight can lead to a noticeable increase in your physical strength. Stress and strain on muscles leads to hypertrophy, which is an increase in muscle size. This means that when you exercise and put on weight, the increased amount of muscle mass allows you to lift heavier objects.

Your increased strength can be beneficial in everyday life, allowing you to do difficult tasks with less effort or with greater ease than before. Additionally, gaining muscles can improve your balance, coordination and posture; enhanced physical capabilities that are helpful whether you’re doing routine chores or taking on more challenging tasks. A stronger core also helps protect your spine and internal organs from injury. Your stronger muscles also enable you to perform arduous activities for a longer period of time compared to those who have less muscle mass or no physical activity at all.

Improved Performance

One of the most significant benefits to increased weight is improved performance. After gaining weight, athletes may notice they have more power, speed, and agility. This is because the added mass can help athletes generate more force in response to their environment such as when starting a sprint or throwing a ball. The mass also provides stability to help you maintain better balance during movement. By increasing total body weight in a targeted and neutral way, your movements will become much more efficient. Additionally, having more muscle mass can also help protect you from possible injuries by providing support to your joints during physical activity.

Improved Body Composition

Improved body composition is one of the key benefits from regular exercise routines that stimulate muscle growth. When you undertake a regular routine that combines both cardio and strength training, your body composition shifts towards increased lean muscle mass. In addition to increased muscle mass, the metabolic rate increases, along with the use of stored body fat. This process ultimately leads to an overall reduction in fat mass and improved body composition over time. Although you may experience an initial increase in weight due to additional muscle building and water retention, this is usually a positive sign of progress.


In conclusion, it is normal for your body weight to fluctuate after a workout. You may experience temporary water retention due to increased fluid intake or electrolyte imbalance, and so you can expect to see an increase in your body weight on the scale. However, long-term increases in body weight due to regular exercise is possible only if the calories burned during the workout are not replaced by an additional daily consumption of calories. With continued regular physical activity and a healthy diet, you can reach your desired body weight goals.

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